Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Told from the first person’s perspective, this story will haunt readers long after the last page. It is told in two times, one by Win who is sixteen and at a remote boarding school. He is very much a loner who is so afraid of his dark and violent thoughts that he thinks he might be a werewolf. Win’s story is also told by Drew, his nine-year-old self, who is also angry boy who harbors a terrible secret that is eating away at his psyche. Slowly the two narratives emerge as readers learn why Win/Drew is so hostile. This is a disturbing book, and might not be for all readers. Teens who appreciate thoughtful psychological mysteries will be drawn to Win, in spite of his own difficult and hostile personality.
Although this book is very dark, I think many teen readers will appreciate Kuehn’s skillful narrative, which will leave readers breathlessly wanting more until the final, horrifying truth is revealed. I would recommend this book to fans of dark and realistic fiction. It would be especially appreciated by Ellen Hopkins’ readers who are used to seeing the grittier side of life.
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